Fans Travel To Ireland To Support Nittany Lions

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BALD EAGLE TOWNSHIP -- Penn State football kicks off its season across the pond. The Nittany Lions will play its first game in Ireland. It's called the Croke Park Classic: Penn State versus Central Florida.

Newswatch 16 met up with some dedicated fans from Clinton County that are headed to Ireland for this weekend's game.

Thousands of Penn State fans are expected to be at the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland this weekend to cheer on the Nittany Lions.

Instead, fans Newswatch 16 met up with Wednesday, said this trip is a way to get the team and supporters pumped up for the football season.

About 30 Nittany Lions fans from all over North Central Pennsylvania loaded onto a bus in a parking lot here in Bald Eagle Township near Lock Haven and they couldn't hold back their excitement.

They've packed their suitcases and are ready to travel to see Penn State football play against Central Florida for the first game of the season

“Penn State supporters, we're always there. Thick or thin. We are always there,” said Raymond McGill from Nittany Travel.

"It's exciting that you know, so many people are going abroad to just support Penn State,” said Nancy English of Hughesville.

"Since this is their first time out of the country we thought that we would just tag along." said Lois McGill.

Nittany Travel, a travel agency from Lock Haven put together the all-inclusive trip to Ireland. The seven-day trip cost these fans about $2,600 each.

The agency usually offers a trip to a bowl game, but Penn State cannot play in a bowl game this year because of NCAA sanctions.

“This is just a way to put it all together and kind of put it all behind us and move forward. I think so many people are so excited for this game,” said Raymond McGill.

One thing these fans said they didn't forget in their luggage: blue and white apparel. They said they are bringing Happy Valley with them all the way to Ireland.

"I have this beautiful scarf that my daughter in law bought me." said Lois McGill.

"Just blue and white. No, that's not quite true. There's probably something green in there,” said Barbara Glass of Altoona.

Fans say they hope to sight see on their trip, but also show Ireland how they tailgate and celebrate in Happy Valley.

"Wherever you see me. We are Penn State!" said English.

The Croke Park Classic is at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in Ireland. It will air here in the states on ESPN2 around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.